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United States v. Approximately $19

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


May 6, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFF,
v.
APPROXIMATELY $19,000.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY, APPROXIMATELY $10,000 IN U.S. CURRENCY, APPROXIMATELY $16,929.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY, AND ONE 2005 FORD F-150 TRUCK, VIN: 1FTPW14515FB11508, CALIFORNIA LICENSE NUMBER: 8A48619, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge

STIPULATION TO STAY FURTHER PROCEEDINGS AND ORDER

Gary Truong and Pik Lam Chan (hereafter "Claimants"), and United States of America, by and through their respective counsel, hereby stipulate that a stay is necessary in the above-entitled action, and request that the Court enter an order staying all further proceedings until the conclusion of criminal case against defendants. Claimants have filed a claim, but have not yet filed an Answer and will not be required to do so until the stay contemplated by this stipulation expires.

The Grand Jury in the Eastern District of California indicted Gary Truong on violations of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841 (a) (1) -- conspiracy to manufacture at least 100 marijuana plants and manufacture of at least 100 marijuana plants.

The stay is requested pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981 (g) (1), 981 (g) (2), and 21 U.S.C. § 881 (i). The plaintiff contends that the defendant $16,929.00 and the defendant Ford F-150 (hereinafter collectively "defendant property") constitute moneys or other things of value furnished or intended to be furnished by any person in exchange for a controlled substance or listed chemical in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 et seq.

The plaintiff intends to depose Claimants regarding their claim and their involvement in and/or knowledge of drug-trafficking; the source of the funds seized; and other facts as alleged in the complaint. Claimants will likely attempt to depose law enforcement officers who have been involved in the drug-trafficking investigation that resulted in the seizure of the defendant currency and that is the basis for the pending criminal case. If discovery proceeds at this time, Claimants will be placed in the difficult position of either invoking their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and losing the ability to pursue their claim to the defendant currency, or waiving their Fifth Amendment rights and submitting to a deposition and potentially incriminating themselves. If they invoke their Fifth Amendment rights, Claimants will be deprived of the ability to explore the factual basis for the claim they filed with this Court in this action.

In addition, to the extent Claimants intend to depose, among others, the agents involved in the underlying investigation, allowing depositions of the law enforcement officers at this time would adversely affect the United States' prosecution of the criminal case against Claimants.

The parties recognize that proceeding with this action at this time has potential adverse effects on the prosecution of the underlying criminal case and/or upon Claimants' ability to prove their claim to the defendant property and to assert any defenses to the forfeiture. For these reasons, the parties jointly request that this matter be stayed until the conclusion of the criminal case. At that time, the parties will advise the court of the status of the criminal case and will advise the court whether a further stay is necessary.

ORDER

For the reasons set forth above, this action is stayed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981 (g) (1), 981 (g) (2), and 21 U.S.C. § 881 (i) until the conclusion of the criminal case, at which time the parties will advise the Court whether a further stay is necessary.

Furthermore, Claimants' answer in this civil action must be filed in this civil action within 20 days after such stay is lifted.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20100506

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